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JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Superior Court is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court, which was established in 1895, reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas in the Commonwealth's 67 counties. The Superior Court consists of 15 judges who serve 10-year terms. The president judge of Superior Court is elected to a five-year term by his or her colleagues. A huge volume of appeals flow to Superior Court from the trial courts. Generally, appeals are heard by panels of three judges sitting in Philadelphia, Harrisburg or Pittsburgh. The court often is the final arbiter of legal disputes. Although the Supreme Court may grant a petition for review of a Superior Court decision, most such petitions are denied and the ruling of the Superior Court stands.Term: 10 years—Salary: $191,422
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    Emil Giordano (Rep) Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

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    Wade Alan Kagarise (Rep) Court of Common Pleas Judge and Adjunct Professor

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    Deborah Anne Kunselman (Dem) Judge

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    Maria McLaughlin (Dem) Judge Court of Common Pleas

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    Jules Mermelstein (Grn) Retired attorney/educator

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    Geoffrey Moulton Jr. (Dem) Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania

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    Mary P. Murray (Rep) Magisterial District Judge & Attorney

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    Carolyn Nichols (Dem) Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge

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    Craig Stedman (Rep) Lancaster District Attorney

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Biographical Information

What is the most important quality in a judge?

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused from a case?

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice?

Campaign Phone (717) 234-5424
Education J.D. Villanova Law School, B.A. Moravian College
Qualifications I have received a "Highly Recommended" rating from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Experience. The Pennsylvania Bar Association cited my "broad experience as a practicing attorney, proven record of judicial leadership, high ethical standards and dedication to the legal profession" as they awarded me a "highly recommended" rating. I believe those are important qualities that will serve me well on the Superior Court.
I believe I have a proven record of conducting myself in a highly ethical manner as it relates to this issue.
The biggest issue that needs to be addressed in the courts is the crisis of public confidence our judiciary faces. Through scandal and ethics lapses, the courts are viewed negatively by too many people. That image will only be changed by electing qualified, ethical judges who will comport themselves in an appropriate manner when in office.
Campaign Phone (814) 330-1604
Campaign Email
Education B.A. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, J.D Widener University School of Law
Qualifications Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, 15 years experience as a criminal prosecutor (the last eight as Chief Deputy) handling all types of criminal cases including murder cases, twelve years experience handling civil, family, and labor law. Adjunct Professor, Infantry Veteran of US Army Reserves.
I believe experience and temperament are equally important. Judges should have broad based legal experience and should treat those who appear before them with fairness and dignity.
Consistent with the Judicial Cannons, any Judge should recuse themselves when they are unable to decide a matter fairly and impartially or where their fairness or impartiality could reasonably be called into question.
By working to improve the justice system for all Pennsylvanians. I have and will continue to work towards this goal. My experience on appointed committees has provided a venue to work on improvements. I also believe my experience as an adjunct professor has provided me the opportunity to have an impact on future generations of legal professionals.
Campaign Phone (412) 999-0547
Education "J.D., University of Notre Dame Law School, cum laude B.A., Penn State University, with Honors and with High Distinction"
Qualifications 12 years experience as a trial court judge in Beaver County: presided over family, juvenile and civil matters; 13 years experience as an attorney: represented clients in personal injury, family and employment cases; 8 years as Chief County Solicitor for Beaver County; "Highly Recommended" by the Bar
Twitter @JudgeKunselman
Integrity. If you cannot trust a judge to do the right thing, and follow the law, then who can you trust?
I have and would recuse in cases involving family members, close friends, or former clients. I have also recused in matters involving my campaign officers. I would also recuse in other cases as required by the PA Code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 2.11.
As a judge, on the bench, I can treat self-represented litigants with respect, so they are not intimidated by the legal system. Off the bench, I can speak at seminars and to the general public about the need for all people to have access to a lawyer to protect their legal rights. I can also advocate for state funding for our public defenders. (Pennsylvania is one of only two states that does not provide any state funding to the public defenders' office.)
Campaign Phone (215) 605-3114
Education JD
Qualifications As a Judge in the largest Judicial district in our Commonwealth, I've had the opportunity to issue thousands of rulings. I have been appealed only 5 times and have never had a decision overturned. I believe this uniquely qualifies me for the Superior Court.
Twitter @honmmclaughlin
It is most important for a jurist to be objective because parties must have confidence that their case will be heard fairly and impartially.
I have recused myself in a criminal matter after hearing argument on a bail reduction motion. It would be inappropriate for me to hear the underlying case because information was revealed during this motion that would be prejudicial to the defendant in his underlying case.
As a sitting Judge I always ensure that all parties are treated fairly and equally regardless of the issue before the Court. I also believe it is my duty as a Judge to educate the public and is the reason I take part in many community based organizations. I believe I should be a good example both on and off the bench.
Campaign Phone (215) 806-0201
Education BA Political Science Temple U. Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa JD American University's Washington College of Law, Cum Laude. M.Ed. in Secondary Social Studies at Arcadia University. Perfect 4.0.
Qualifications Proven record of integrity: 5 terms as township commissioner, no scandals; afterwards awarded medal for "Outstanding Citizen" Handled multiple cases before Superior Court. 2 decades teaching teens values in Sunday School. Taught government and US history at the college and high school level. Licensed PA lawyer for 37 years, with no disciplinary complaints.
Twitter @Jules4Judge
Municipality Upper Dublin Township
Integrity. The public needs confidence that decisions will be based on the law as applied to the particular facts of the case. Personal interest and bias must not even appear to be a consideration by the judge. The Pennsylvania justice system’s credibility has taken a hit. 3 Supreme Court justices have had to resign in disgrace, 2 Attorneys General have gone to jail, 2 judges sold juveniles to a private prison, and the Phila. DA was led away in handcuffs in fed. ct. See
I would recuse myself in any case in which a party, or their attorney, contributed any money to any of my political campaigns; if I had a financial or political interest in the outcome of the case; if I believed that I could not fairly and impartially decide a case or if, for some reason, it appears that I could not fairly do so. Even if I believed I could fairly decide a case, if there was an appearance that I could not, then I would recuse myself. Public confidence in our system is #1.
I will grant petitions to waive court filing fees which would be an unreasonable burden. I will also decide all cases based on the principles of justice, without regard to how good or experienced the attorneys are representing the parties.

Off the bench, I will volunteer to speak at law schools and at Bar Assoc. events promoting pro bono. I would be willing to advocate for more support for equal access. I will work closely with the PA Legal Aid Network with sponsorships for fellows and events.
Mailing Address PO Box 151
Oreland, PA 19075
Campaign Phone (215) 817-3312
Campaign Email
Education B.A. Amherst College; J.D. Columbia University School of Law
Qualifications The Judicial Evaluation Comm'n of the Pennsylvania Bar Association concluded: "This commission believes that the candidate possesses the highest combination of legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament and, therefore, highly recommends his candidacy for the Pennsylvania Superior Court.”
Twitter @JudgeMoulton
Municipality Upper Dublin
Beyond the baseline requirements of professional competence, integrity, and appropriate judicial temperament, the most important qualification is a commitment to ensuring that every participant in the judicial system is treated fairly and with dignity and respect.
Judges should recuse themselves when their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. In the context of the current judicial campaign, I have recused myself in situations where lawyers providing significant support to my campaign, or members of their firms, represent clients in our court.
I believe deeply in our civil justice system, but it is far from perfect, in large part because too many litigants do not have the resources to afford legal representation in important classes of cases where such representation is not provided by the state. As a result, I have supported and will continue to support efforts to find ways to bridge that gap, including the "Civil Gideon" movement.
Campaign Phone (412) 264-0440
Education Duquesne University, BS/BA 1992, MBA 1995, JD 1996
Qualifications As Magisterial District Judge for over 13 years and as an attorney for over 20, I have heard cases and practiced law in the areas that come before the Superior Court. In my tenure as a Magisterial District Judge, I have handled over 70,000 cases which make me aware of the concerns of PA citizens.
Municipality Moon Township
The most important quality in a jurist is to listen to the evidence presented at a hearing and to apply the law in a fair and impartial manner. As a jurist giving every citizen their day in Court and being fair and impartial is the only way democracy can continue to flourish in our county.
I have recused myself from cases where police officers who appear regularly in front of me were either victims or defendants. I have also asked for a change in venue on cases where someone has run against me in a recent campaign or if someone called me at my home and tried to influence my decision on a case.
On the bench, I make sure that my staff provides litigates information on their rights to appeal and phone numbers for legal representation through Neighborhood Legal Services or Lawyer Referral Services or the Public Defender's Office. Additionally, we try to provide interpreters when requested by the litigants. Off the bench, every citizen should lobby for adequate funding for the Courts and Legal Service organizations.
Campaign Phone (267) 586-5260
Education Eastern University, St. Davids, PA MBA, 2000-2002; Temple University, Phila., PA, LLM Trial Advocacy, 1992-1994; Temple University, Phila. PA., Juris Doctor, 1981-1985; Temple University, Phila., PA, BFA, 1973-1978
Qualifications Before becoming a judge, I was a licensed attorney for over 20 years, practicing law in local government and as an independent solo practice attorney. Phila. Court of Common Pleas Judge, Criminal Trial Div. 2011-present; Dep. Secretary of External Affairs, Mayor's Office, 2005-2006; Asst. Gen. Counsel at PPPA, 1999-2005; HR Dir. for Crime Prevention Assoc., 1997; Asst. Legal Counsel PHDC, 1995-1996; Asst. City Solicitor, City of Phila. Law Dept., 1990-1994
Twitter @nicholsforpa
Municipality Philadelphia, PA
There are 3 important qualities: knowledge and respect for the law, judicial temperament, and a commitment to community service. Judges must apply the law evenhandedly and make difficult decisions without bias or regard to personal beliefs, popular opinion or political pressure, and operate with the highest personal integrity. We must also respect the Rule of law, follow the precedential law in decision-making and rulings. We should also work to improve our neighborhoods thru community service
Impartial judges are a cornerstone of equal access to justice for all citizens. Recusal is a significant decision and is undertaken only when a judge's impartiality can be reasonably questioned. Circumstances, where recusal might be considered, would be conflicts of interest such as, personal economic gains or losses related to the outcome of a case, the involvement of a family member or friend in a case, or if there was a case that I previously worked on as an attorney.
In order to ensure fair and equitable treatment for a fair trial, I make sure that defendants are represented by competent legal counsel who will zealously defend them. If there is a conflict with the Defenders Office, I appoint legal counsel who can fulfill that role. Concerning all litigants, victims, and defendants alike, they come to court for justice and seek a full and fair hearing of the issues. Everyone, regardless of their background, or income level, deserve to be treated with respect.
Campaign Phone (717) 234-5424
Campaign Email
Education B.A. History - University of Delaware; J.D. Penn State Dickinson School of Law
Qualifications The Pennsylvania Bar Association awarded me a "Highly Recommended" rating.
The most important quality in a judge is fairness. There are many characteristics which make up an excellent judge such as intelligence, integrity, and temperament, but everything a judge does must be forged in fairness. A judge must do the right thing for the right reason in all cases and the Pennsylvania Bar Association specifically noted my commitment to fairness in rating me as Highly Recommended.

I would follow the current law and all ethical standards in deciding whether to recuse myself. Moreover, even if there is no actual conflict of interest, I would be will be extremely cognizant of the appearance of impropriety in making the decision to recuse. Part of justice is making sure that the public is confident that matters were handled fairly, properly, and without taint.
Judges must start by leading by example when it comes to integrity and must never forget that they serve the public and not the reverse. As District Attorney, I have made a strong commitment to outreach, prevention, and education, and I believe a judge is in a perfect position to engage the community in similar ways without compromising their impartiality. Education is an absolute key in making sure that people know their rights and it will also instill confidence in our justice system. logo


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